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It had grown late. At the knocking, Taylor raced to the door and nearly tore it from its hinges when she opened it. “Sara, I was worried...” She stopped as she recognized the person, who was standing in front of her. It wasn't Sara. “You? What do you want?”
Jack rubbed the back of his neck, embarrassed. “I'm sorry, I know I have not been around in a while...”
“I thought you were our friend,” the teenager cut him off and scowled. “For months you have not visited us.”
“Yes, I know. But, please, can we talk about that later? I'm looking for Sara. Is she here?”
Taylor crossed her arms in front of her chest. “She was on her way to see you.”
“Yes, she was at my house. Unfortunately, she ran into Victoria, unprepared,” he said.
Taylor sighed. “Damn it.”
“And suddenly she just disappeared before I could talk with her.”
“She is not here and she didn't call,” Taylor replied.
“What could she want from me? Do you have an idea?”
The girl shook her head. “I don't want to get involved in that. She can tell her yourself when she shows up again.”
The telephone rang and quickly Taylor picked up. “Sara?... Where the hell are you?... You are lost?... What?... Some run-down part of the city and you have no idea where you are... you are standing beneath a huge, glowing Geico Caveman advertisement?... I have no idea where that is either...”
Jack poked Taylor's shoulder and whispered, “I know where she is. I'll go and get her. Lots of weird guys are hanging around in that area.” He hurried out to his motorcycle and drove off.
“Uh... Just stay where you are, somebody will come and get you. Don't panic,” Taylor told her friend and then hung up. “Hopefully everything will be alright.”
While the girl was still contemplating the whole difficult situation, a key unlocked the front door and Samantha entered. “Hey, little one. Is Liz home yet?”
Taylor shook her head. “No.”
“Would you like to eat with me? I'm so hungry I could eat a whole cow.”
Danielle was rediscovering her own apartment while Elias was making his bed. “I think it is very generous of you to let me live here until I have found the perfect apartment for myself,” he told her.
“I really like having you around,” she answered. “It seems that everything is much easier when you are with me.” Nerve-wrecked, she lowered herself to an over-stuffed armchair. “Here is just nothing that triggers my memory. It seems that I had a very empty and monotone life. There was nothing but advertisements and invoices in my mail.”
“Don't give up that easy,” Elias encouraged her. “Sooner or later you will find something. Maybe it will be something small and completely unimportant that will bring your memories back.”
She rubbed her face tiredly. “According to the documents in the folders I was an unsuccessful, unemployed actress. I don't even have picture frames of my family and friends or any other typical memorials...”
Eli began to massage her tight shoulders. “Don't despair. This is just your first day back home. You can't expect things that are impossible. It will take tie”
Danielle sighed. “At least that Greg guy won't be able to find me here...”
Jack was speeding through the barely lit streets of Hollywood. Finally he found Sara, who was standing under the advertisement like she had told Taylor on the phone. He stopped right in front of her and saw how she was trembling.
Jack took off his leather jacket and held it out to her. “Here, put my jacket on.”
“Please, I don't want you to catch a cold,” he insisted.
Reluctantly but still grateful, she put on the jacket. “Where is Taylor?” she inquired. “What are you doing here?” Her eyes flashed. “Shouldn't you be home with your dear Vicky?”
Jack got upset about her behavior and retorted strongly, “Here we go again. I guess you don't want it any other way. How about I ask you a question for a change? What did you want at my house?”
Stubbornly, Sara kept her mouth shut.
“Did you want to look if I would be sitting at home unhappily and crying my heart out for you?” he demanded sarcastically.
“Yes, of course!” she snapped angrily. “Even though I could have done without that. It was quite obvious that you were pretty quick in finding somebody to console you.” Sara glared at him. “And of all people it had to be Victoria.”
“It was different than you think,” he said. “It also took me by surprise but...”
“Yeah, it didn't take you long, that's for sure.” Tears of rage welled up in her eyes. “Your love for me could not have been that great.”
“Don't start with that,” Jack replied, getting mad too. “You were the one who broke up with me without any explanation. I was feeling very down.”
“Yeah, and then Vicky came and raised you up,” she threw in.
“Don't you understand? I was devastated and Victoria was there for me.”
Sara wanted to reply something, but he cut her off with a rough hand motion. Tears were burning in his eyes as he yelled, “YOU BROKE MY HEART, SARA!”
Now that he had expressed his true feelings, Sara could only stare at him, eyes wide with shock.
“Damn it... I...” Jack took a look around. “I think we should go. This part of the city isn't the nicest. We should just leave”
She didn't say anything.
Jack sat down on his motorcycle and motioned for Sara to take her seat behind him.
She didn't like being so close to him. Unfortunately, she didn't have another choice. As they drove off, she leaned against his back and wrapped her arms tightly around his waist. Closing her eyes, she thought, ‘I didn't want anything more than to feel him close to me. But now, it only hurts. God, I missed him so bad and now that I feel his warmth... it is just painful. I didn't know that I hurt him so bad. Jack will never forgive me.'
Jack was doing some thinking of his own. ‘Just why did I get so angry and said that? Her eyes... I never saw them look so sad. It hurts to feel her body so close to mine. Maybe truth has to hurt.'
The doorbell rang and once more Taylor hurried to open the entrance door. Her eyes widened in shock as she saw the person in front of it. “Vicky? What the hell do you want here?”
Not giving the girl a second thought, the blonde just pushed her way inside the house and went to the living room. “I'm sure she is hiding somewhere here. You better tell me where she is right now.”
Taylor was greatly annoyed. “Nobody invited you to come here. Also, if you are talking about Sara, she is not here.”
“Damn it. I could have sworn that where she is I could also find Jack.”
“Who says it's not like that?” the teenager asked, leaning against the door frame.
“What are you talking about, silly kid?”
The longer she had to be in her presence the angrier Taylor got. “I don't like the way you are talking to me," she growled.
Vicky regarded her sharply. “You know something. You know what's going on between them. Tell me, I want to know right now!”
Taylor sighed dramatically. “Okay, just don't forget that you asked for it.” She lifted her left index finger. “Jack was in Paris.” Then she lifted her right index finger. “Sara was in Paris.” She put the fingers together and announced, grinning broadly, “They were in Paris together at the same time.” Greatly amused, she watched the transformation of Victoria's face, which turned very pale.
“Sara was the love of his life that he told me about?” Victoria stammered.
Taylor nodded. She was a bit surprised because the news seemed to have hit the other woman like a ton of bricks.
It knocked at the door. “Just what is it today?” Taylor muttered and went again to open it.
Sara and Jack were standing in front of it, both of them silent. They were astonished to find Victoria at the house. “Vicky?” they asked at the same time.
The blonde woman was raging with jealousy. She pointed her finger at Jack. “You owe me an explanation... and you...” she turned to Sara with flashing eyes. “You... you...” she exhaled sharply.
Taylor thought steam would come out of the blonde's ears any second.
The rattling of a key in the lock made them all turn around and Elizabeth entered. She raised her eyebrows as she saw all the people in the house. “Do we have a gathering?” she asked and smiled.
Sam had heard her arrival and came storming down the stairs.
Liz' eyes fell on Sara, who was unconsciously staring at Jack.
Victoria had noticed the same stare and she raved, “Don't dare to even think of him or get into contact with him ever again. Leave, before I forget myself!”
Crying, Sara fled upstairs, followed by Taylor.
The blonde fury turned to her boyfriend. “You will follow me,” she ordered in a tone that wouldn't allow any talking back. “We will talk about this at home. I really am very angry and upset!” Still raging, she climbed into her Porsche.
Liz didn't know what to do and looked questioningly at Jack, who followed Victoria like an obedient dog. With sad eyes he said to Liz, “Please, tell Sara I'm... uh... just forget it. Bye.”
The door fell shut behind him and Liz asked Sam, “Do you know what just happened here?”
Samantha shrugged her shoulders.
“Really, I am a little bit confused,” the blonde said and decided to go upstairs to talk with her little sister.
***** TWO WEEKS LATER – COSTUME BALL *****
It was a wonderful, sunny Saturday morning as Taylor came happily prancing down the stairs. She found Sara in the living room.
The photographer was sitting in front of the TV, watching MTV and listening intently to the song ‘Sorry' by the boy group ‘Blue'.
Taylor groaned and rolled her eyes, before she sat down beside her. “Since when are you listening and actually enjoying this lovey-dovey rubbish?”
“Leave me alone,” came the petulant answer. “It suits my mood at the moment.”
“And what DVDs do we have here? ‘Romeo and Juliet', ‘Titanic', ‘Dirty Dancing'...?”
Sara sighed and had a look at the cover. “It contains Jack's favorite song... ‘Be My Baby'.”
“You know, I really am sorry that I didn't tell you that Vicky and Jack are a couple,” Taylor said. “I thought that you two would make up and get together right away. That would have sent bitchy Vicky packing.”
“No, it's not your fault. It's only my fault. Jack hates me,” Sara stated.
“That's complete bullshit and you know it! Also, it's no reason to mutate into a couch potato and watch one dramatic love story after another. You can't do that.”
“Yes, I can, if I want to.”
Samantha and Elizabeth chose that moment to come downstairs. Liz announced, “Sam and I are going skating. We will be back in time to get ready for the Costume Ball this evening. Oh, and Taylor, I think your costume is tremendously cute. Thank you for doing me this favor of wearing it. Sara, why don't you think it over? You really can come with us this evening. Until later you two and behave while we are gone.”
“Sara and I will go horseback riding,” Taylor declared.
“What?” the other girl gasped. “No, I really don't want...”
“That's a great idea,” Liz chimed in. “You will get some fresh air this way.”
The door fell shut behind the two women and Sara turned to her friend. “Shouldn't you have asked me first before making such plans?”
“No,” Taylor replied. “You don't have anything better to do anyway so you can come with me.” She pulled at Sara's arm until the other finally rose from the couch. “Tasilo! Come here, buddy!”
The German shepherd came racing at lightning speed and was the first who sat in the car.
After Taylor and Sara had entered the car, the photographer asked, “What costume was Liz talking about?”
Taylor wiped her face. “Oh gee, I let her talk me into something... I really can't tell anybody. It's so embarrassing.”
Sara was curious. “Awww, come on Taylor. Don't torture me like that. Tell me.”
“No. Only if you accompany us to the Costume Ball.”
“You know my answer to that. Never ever!” Sara snapped and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“Come on, we will have fun there.”
“Watching Jack and Vicky sucking face isn't exactly my idea of fun! Just why did it have to end like that?”
“Don't worry. For now we will get your mind to other things,” Taylor said. “And, I really do think that you could win Jack back if only you would give it some more efforts.”
“I told you before, it's of no use,” Sara grumbled.
Elias had just left to shop for groceries and Danielle busied herself with cleaning up her apartment.
She hummed a song as she took the vacuum cleaner out to suck away the dust from under the bed. As she had a look under it, she discovered something else. There was a picture laying among the dust balls.
Danielle reached forward with her arm and picked it up. She regarded it and her eyes widened in shock. “Oh my God! That's Greg and I having sex!” Danielle turned it over and found some scribbling. “My stallion Alex and I...” she read and in the next instant threw the picture away. One hand flew to her mouth in shock. “No... no... that can't be,” she stammered, shaking her head in disbelief. “Alexander... Elizabeth... oh my God... NO! Now I remember...”
Aimlessly, she walked through her apartment, while one memory after another popped up in her mind until she stopped in front of the big mirror that hung in the corridor.
Danielle looked herself into the eyes. “Alexander is Liz' fiancé... I should tell her everything... but will she believe me? I played a nasty game with her... Alexander and I had an affair... maybe I shouldn't... I like Liz so much... what if she will hate me? What am I supposed to do? No, I have to tell her the whole truth. I owe her at least that. She was always so nice to me. If I make this confession I need to have Elias with me. I'm not strong enough to do it by myself.”
It was the middle of the day as Taylor and Sara returned from horseback riding. Sara was very relaxed. “I am glad that you talked me into coming with you. I'm feeling much better.”
Taylor grinned. “Well, what can I say? I'm unbeatably good.”
Both laughed and took the saddles off the horses before they led the animals to the paddock.
As they reached the car, Taylor remarked, “Think again about the Costume Ball. That is the chance.”
Sara shook her head. “I think it's stupid to show up there.”
“Hey, you have done things far more stupid than that.”
Sara wrinkled her forehead. “It's of no use. Vicky wouldn't let him out of her sight for even one second. Besides, Jack loves her and not me. I really should stop thinking about him.”
“No, that's not true and you shouldn't give up. I know that Jack loves you, he always did. He just doesn't know that you love him. If you tell him, he will leave Vicky.”
Sara contemplated what she had just heard. “You know, you are right about this one tiny little thing. I really never told him that I love him.”
Taylor grinned. “That's what I said. And we can't let Vicky win. Not after all the stunts she pulled.”
“Okay, I agree,” Sara said. “But we need a plan.”
“We will come up with one. Give me five.”
The girls got into the car and Taylor was about to start the engine as Richard appeared.
“Hey Taylor. Wait a second. How are you doing? Is the happy couple back from their honeymoon?” he asked.
Instantly, Sara turned towards him. “Ray?” She got out of the car.
Happily she ran to him and hugged him tightly.
“That is your Richard?” Taylor inquired. “Cool.”
Sara looked at him. “You know, actually I should be horribly mad at you. You can be glad that I just love you too much for that.”
“I guess I'm in luck then,” he replied and smirked.
“It's so great that we meet again in L.A. of all places. There is so much we need to talk about. For right now though, you can help us,” Sara blurted without taking a breath.
“With what?” Richard wanted to know.
“We are on a mission to win back the love of her life,” Taylor chimed in.
“Come to the Stuarts' house this evening and bring a costume. God, I'm so glad to have you back,” Sara gushed.
Taylor waited until Sara was sitting in the passenger seat and then she started the car. “Bye. We gotta go.”
They drove off and left a completely, utterly stunned and flabbergasted Richard behind, who could only stare after them.
Christopher kissed every inch of Karen's beautiful body, as she sat up and asked, “Don't you think we should call our family and tell them that we are back?”
He lowered her back down and replied, “Why the hurry? We just got back last night and now we are enjoying our first day here as a married couple in this bed.”
Karen sighed lustfully.
“Besides, we will see the gang this evening at the Costume Ball.”
Her eyes widened. “The Ball, I almost forgot about that. Chris, we have to get ready... oh... Chris... please...” Her eyes rolled back as she felt his lips tenderly kissing the silky skin of her belly.
“We still have a few hours.”
“I know... oh... yes... but the costumes need some preparations...”
He looked at her and grinned. “You know we could still have a change of costumes. Why don't we go as Adam and Eve? For that we wouldn't even have to dress.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Now let's not talk about the Ball anymore and go back to enjoying ourselves.”
“Oh... yes... Chris... I love you...”
Taylor and Sara had made it back to the Stuarts' house as the photographer suddenly exclaimed, “We forgot about the most important thing!”
Taylor looked at her questioningly. “What's that?”
“That's right, you can't go without. But what could it be?”
Sara rubbed her chin in thought. “It will have to be something that will knock Jack's socks off. Something that he won't ever forget in his life.”
Both thought hard about it, while their eyes traveled all over the living room to find something for inspiration. Then, both their eyes fell on Taylor's Tomb Raider game and they said at the same time, “Lara Croft!”
Taylor nodded, satisfied. “Yeah, if there is one thing he has the hots for then it's Lara.”
Sara regarded the game case's cover. “I really am glad that this woman is merely fiction. Too bad that the Parkers always keep their costumes a secret. I would really like to know what Jack will be.”
Taylor snorted. “I bet Vicky will be an affected princess and she probably forced a costume upon poor Jack.”
“Yeah, that would be like her,” Sara agreed.
“I will call Billy and tell him to come over earlier. Also, he needs to bring a Lara Croft costume for you.”
“Yes, and finally I will get to know what you will be at the Ball.”
Taylor rolled her eyes and waved her off. “Phhh. It's really nothing extra-ordinary.”
Already in their costumes, Victoria and Jack were standing in Vicky's bedroom. She turned in front of the huge mirror, regarding herself from each and every angle with a satisfied smile. “This dress is just awesome.”
He nodded. “Yes, you look like a princess.”
“Thank you, Darling. You are right, but then it is an original from Europe and was very expensive.”
“You are absolutely worth it.”
She walked to him, placed a hand on his chest and looked at his face. “You know, I really am glad that we talked and swept away all the misunderstanding and problems in our relationship.”
“I know, me too.”
“Okay, so let's go downstairs now and greet the first guests.” Victoria wanted to leave the room but with her huge dress she had trouble fitting through the door.
Jack couldn't suppress a grin.
She saw it and thundered, “Jack! Pull yourself together and stop grinning! Help me instead!”
With combined forces they pressed down on the skirt so that Vicky could pass through the door.
“Don't you think you could leave off the huge skirt lattice?” Jack inquired.
“No way! Besides, I don't want to walk around in it. I just want to look good in front of the cameras.”
He was disappointed. “What? We will just stand around the whole evening? I wanted to dance with you and have lots of fun.”
She patted his cheek with a gloved hand. “Ah, Jacky-Boy. In the face of your immortal love for me, you will get over it and for once do what I want. Remember, we will represent the Parkers.” Vicky batted her eyelashes seductively and he gave in.
Jack held another door open for her and bowed gallantly, “May I please accompany you, my precious Christine?”
“You may, my gorgeous Phantom.” She gave him the white mask. “You almost forgot the most important thing. Here, put your mask on.”
“Nobody will recognize me under that thing,” he complained.
She kissed him and responded, “Is it not enough that your Beloved recognizes you?”
He grumbled but put on the mask. “As you wish. Now, let's go downstairs to your family.”
“We are the perfect pair,” she said, took his arm and together they went downstairs.
Impatiently, Sara was waiting in the living room. She already wore the Lara Croft clothes and regarded herself skeptically in the mirror. Unsure, she pulled and tugged at the outfit. “Hmmm. There really isn't much fabric to cover me...”
“But the guns are awesome,” Taylor finished her sentence, coming downstairs in her costume and make-up.
Sara looked at her and right in the face of Mr. Mistoffelees, a black and white cat from the musical ‘Cats'. “Oh my gosh," Sara gushed. "How cute is that!”
Grueling, the girl responded, “If I hear that one more time, I'm going to scream!”
“I was being honest and very positive. You really are looking soooo adorable and cute... like a sweet, little cat. Will you be dancing and jumping like him too?”
Taylor shot her a dark glare. “Honest and positive my ass. You just wait, I'll get back at you.”
They were interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. Sara grinned. “I'll go and open, pussycat.”
In front of the door stood Richard. As he saw Sara, he scrutinized her up and down. “Can I come in or is it too dangerous for a man?”
“Ha ha, very funny, Zorro,” she replied and pulled him inside the house.
“Hey, that was the only costume they had left.”
Sara shrugged her shoulders.
As they went back to Taylor in the living room, they saw Samantha coming down the stairs. Each of them stared at her open-mouthed and a “Wow” escaped them.
“Sammy, your Samurai outfit is really amazing,” Taylor said.
“You really have a nice, athletic body,” Sara added, admiringly.
“Thanks for the compliments,” Sam smiled. “I'm really looking forward to see what Liz is going to wear.”
Taylor nodded. “We all would like to know that. She didn't want to tell anybody up front.”
Billy came hurrying down the stairs. “Huh, so much stress today. Liz is working on the rest of her costume by herself. That gives me time to make our Lara Croft perfect. I really like the way I did that braid... now the two strands, one on each side of the face... good, good... okay and now we really gotta work on your front. Hold out your arms to your sides.”
Under Sara's shocked glances, he began to adjust her fake Lara Croft boobs. “Here a bit together... up there... and here a little bit more stuffing. Done.” Billy looked at his work and said, “For my tastes you are too macho, but if he likes Lara Croft... yup... then he will burst into flames when he sees you.”
“That's all I want,” Sara answered and grinned broadly.
Richard wanted to cover his ears because he couldn't hear it anymore.
Fortunately release came as Liz called from upstairs, “Sam, could you please stand at the last step? I have a surprise for you.”
Samantha did as she was asked. Overwhelmed and in awe, she looked at the woman, who seemed to be floating downstairs.
Slowly, Elizabeth walked down the stairs, wearing a white dress and enchanting the brunette with a smile.
Sam reached for her with one hand. With tears in her eyes, she stood in front of her and carefully touched the soft, white feathers of Liz' wings. “You are the most beautiful Angel that ever came down from heaven,” Samantha whispered.
“It means everything to me to see you happy.” Liz took Sam's hands. “I have made a decision, but I want to tell you after the Ball is over. First, I have to talk with somebody else about it, okay?”
Sam nodded, not knowing what Liz was actually talking about.
Hand in hand, they walked into the living room to the others.
Billy was enraptured. “Ooh, there is my masterpiece. Wings seem to be my destiny.”
Liz' eyes traveled from one person to the other. “All of you look great. Especially you, Taylor. Very cute and beautiful.”
The teenager rolled her eyes.
Sara couldn't refrain from remarking, “Yeah, so precious and adorable,” she batted her eyelashes at Taylor, which earned her a punch in the side.
“Can we finally go now? It's getting late.” The teenager grumbled and crossed her arms. She was embarrassed and just wanted to get it over with.
“Wait. Billy could you please take a couple of pictures of us?” Elizabeth asked.
Billy took the camera and looked at the small screen in the back. There he saw a Samurai warrior, who was exchanging longing gazes with an Angel, and Lara Croft, who was grinning and hugging Mr. Mistofelees and Zorro to herself. He pressed the button and the picture was stored for eternity. “Alright, that was it.”
Taylor freed herself from Sara's hug and said, “You better be careful that you don't suffocate anyone with your monster boobs.”
“I'm not going to answer to that,” Sara replied, indifferently.
“Okay, I'll be driving with Sam and we will take Richard too,” Liz said. “I think you two will go with the motorcycle?”
Taylor nodded. “Yep.”
Cupping her little sister's face, Liz admonished her, “Please, drive carefully, okay?”
“Don't worry. I'll be very careful, I promise.”
“Okay, we will meet at the Parkers' house then.”
Billy said goodbye to everyone and they went to their vehicles.
For the official opening of the Costume Ball, Catherine and Jonathan strode down the stairs. A murmur traveled through the gathered press people as they recognized the costumes that the couple had chosen for this year. They were Hera and Zeus, the highest Gods of Ancient Greece. The cameras for TV were rolling and several other cameras flashed.
Next to them appeared Victoria and Jack and at last Alexander came downstairs, dressed as Ares, the God of War.
Catherine took a nearby microphone. “Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. In the name of the whole Parker family I welcome you in our humble premises. Like every year this little celebration is for the amusement of our personal guests and all the other people, who are at home, sitting in front of their TV screens. With all that said, I don't wish to keep you any longer and I declare this Costume Ball as opened.”
The crowd cheered and clapped their hands, while the family bowed and more cameras flashed.
Music began to play and everybody went to the different rooms for dancing.
Alexander patted his mother's shoulder in acknowledgment. “Nice opening, Mom. I'll mix in with the crowd.”
“Where is Liz?” she wanted to know.
“She'll come a bit later. You know how women are. They always need a lot of time to get ready, fretting in front of the mirror and so on.”
Catherine didn't comment on that snide remark. Instead, she asked another question. “How are you planning on going about it?”
Alex grinned. “Well, I thought I would jump on the huge platform in the big dancing hall and just announce it. In front of all these people, she wouldn't dare to tell me off.”
“Wonderful. But remember, no mishaps. Today is a very special day.”
“Hey Mom, don't worry. I'm the super attractive Ares. Nobody can resist me and nothing can go wrong.”
While Catherine and Jonathan were busy shaking hands and giving interviews, Vicky posed for the cameras with a very bored looking Jack at her side.
Meanwhile the Stuarts had arrived and met with Christopher and Karen, who were dressed as Legolas and Aphrodite. Liz and Sam went inside for dancing and the newly married couple followed them.
Sara pulled Taylor and Richard to the side. “Okay. Let's go over the plan again. Taylor, you will check and see where Jack is and then you'll come back to tell me. You, Ray, will have the most important task. You must distract Vicky so that I can have time alone with Jack. No matter how, keep her away from us.”
Taylor and Richard went inside.
Jack gave Victoria a fleeting kiss and said, “I'm in need of some fresh air. It's so hot and stuffy in here, especially with this mask on.”
“Okay. I'll be here, anxiously waiting for you. I would come with you, but the press people need someone attractive to take pictures of,” she replied, smirking.
Jack had just left as Richard walked straight towards her and introduced himself. “Uh... hi, I am Richard and you look... absolutely fantastic.”
Vicky pretended to be bashful. “Oh, you're just saying that.”
“No, no. I'm a big admirer of your beauty.”
“Really?” she inquired, very flattered. “Are you with the press?”
“Yes... uh... I'm a reporter for a European fashion magazine.”
Vicky pricked up her ears. “Now that is great. We should talk a bit more. You know, I was a model, but I stopped because the job offers were just sooooo below my standard.”
“Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.”
“Just where did Jack disappear to?” she asked, glancing around, searchingly.
Quickly, Richard distracted her again. “Let's go and have a drink. We can talk some more about your career.”
Taylor returned to Sara. “Jack just went in direction of the terrace. He's alone. Now it's your turn. Remember, you're Lara Croft so go and get what you want. I have to go back inside. I just saw that Alex is trying to get close to Liz, but she is having lots of fun with Sammy.”
“Okay, thanks Taylor. You're a great friend.” Sara put on her sunglasses and told herself, “It's now or never.” Taking a deep breath she sucked in her tummy and pushed forward her fake boobs. “Ready or not, here I come.”
Elizabeth and Samantha were holding on to each other as they whirled across the dance floor. They forgot about everything that went on around them. The only thing they heard were their hearts beating as one. Sam was shaking her long dark hair to the rhythm of the music and it made Liz very happy to see her so happy.
“Tonight everything is going to change for us both.”
Sam stopped dancing and looked at her in fear. “What does that mean?”
“You don't need to be scared, Sam,” Liz calmed her. “I've made my choice. I decided once and for all, whom I trust, whom I feel close to, who's making me happy and with whom I want to share my life... to get to the point, I decided whom I love. But you will have to be patient a little while longer. It is hard for me to dare take this step. I also think that my decision will have influence on our movie company. I am very excited and at the same time very nervous.”
Samantha was just about to cheer Liz up as Alexander crept up from behind, grabbed Liz' shoulders and turned her towards him. “My graceful Angel, Lizzy,” he whispered into her ear. “You are so beautiful. I think I just died and went to heaven.”
Liz blushed. “Alex, don't exaggerate.”
Alexander kissed her hand and mentioned to Samantha, ”So, I'll take my future wife to have a dance with me.”
“Alex, I really need to talk with you alone. It's very important because it concerns our future,” Liz said.
“That's great,” he replied. “I have a surprise for you concerning that too. We can talk about this during our dance.”
“I'll be back, Sam. Please don't go away,” was all she could say before he dragged her merciless to the middle of the dance floor.
Sam's thoughts and feelings whirled and swirled into chaos and she went to the ladies room to put some cold water on her face. “What is Liz doing? Alex is treating her so horrible, why did she go with him? What shall I... did I understand her correctly?”
Jack stood at the open terrace door and looked indifferently at the dancing crowd in front of him. He took off his mask and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead.
U2's hit ‘Elevation' was played, as Sara entered the dancing hall. She pulled her silver guns and swirled them in her hands. Provocatively, she made her way through the room and thought, ‘There he is, looking quite fascinated towards me. Okay Jack, here I come.'
He forgot everything as he saw Lara Croft walking straight towards him. The crowd seemed to have disappeared and Jack rubbed his eyes in disbelief as this phenomenal woman came closer.
Sara stopped a few inches in front of him and the air was crackling with tension. She smirked as she ran her weapons tenderly over his chest, down towards his pants. Regarding him through her sunglasses, she whispered, “How do you like these convincing things?”
Sweat gathered once more on his forehead and he whistled through his teeth as he pushed the weapons away from himself and against Sara's body.
Under his scrutinizing gaze, Sara put the guns into the holsters that were strapped to her legs. Then she took off her sunglasses, but he didn't show any sign of surprise. Sara's hands traveled over his body, grabbed his collar and pulled him down.
He didn't fight it.
“Kiss me,” she whispered.
Their lips drew closer to each other, their breathing grew quicker and the desire to feel the other close became unbearable.
Jack was barely able to think clearly because he wanted her so much. “I... I can't risk a relationship, which I've been having for almost 5 months, just for a moment of uncontrolled lust...” He felt her hot breath on his face and had to swallow hard before he continued, “...only to have you leave me again... when it becomes too much for you.”
Sara looked seductively into his eyes. “Nothing could ever be too much for me with you by my side.”
Jack swallowed again and then they were wrapped up in a passionate kiss.
Sara pressed him against the door frame. “I missed you so much.”
They couldn't let go of each other and their hands couldn't be still.
“Stop,” Jack gasped in the next instant. “I have to be sure of your feelings before...”
She took his hands off her hips and kissed his fingers. Taking a deep breath, she said, “Jack, in Paris... that I declined your proposal then... It did not mean that I don't love you.” Sara let go of his hands and stroked his cheeks. “You are the one for me and I love you more than anything. I only want to be with you and I will fight for you, if I must,” she declared, taking the typical Lara Croft stance.
Jack grinned and bit down on his lower lip as he looked her up and down.
“Hey, my face is a bit higher,” she chuckled as she saw where his eyes had stopped.
Jack reached out and wrapped his fingers around her belt, pulling her against him. “You don't have to fight for me anymore.”
Meanwhile, Taylor stood at the entrance, completely lost. She went up on her tiptoes and stretched her body, trying to become as tall as she could, searching for Liz and Sam or anybody else familiar. In the whirl of flashy costumes she couldn't see much.
The door behind her opened, revealing Danielle and Elias.
“Hey, how are you doing?” the teenager greeted them. “It's great to see you again. Where are your costumes.”
“We are not here to party,” Danielle responded seriously. “I have to talk with Liz, it's very important. Where is she, Taylor?”
The girl spread her arms. “Good luck with searching. I lost sight of her.”
“What costume is Liz wearing?”
“She is an Angel. But, what is this all about?”
Danielle didn't answer. She just went into the crowd, searching for the blonde woman.
Elias followed her.
Taylor was a bit stunned, but then she shrugged her shoulders. Finally, she climbed up on the nearest table. Her eyes widened. “Oh no! I think I'm going to be sick! Why is Liz dancing with this assho...”
Next to her, someone cleared their throat.
Taylor looked down and found herself face to face with Catherine. “What kind of behavior is that?” the head of the Parker family demanded, furiously. “Do you climb on the tables at home too?”
Without answering, Taylor just jumped off the table and disappeared as quickly as she could into the crowd. She really didn't want to have a discussion with Catherine.
Alexander pressed Elizabeth tighter against his body as ‘Hungry Eyes' sounded from the speakers in the dancing hall. “I love this song. It' so sexy,” he said. “Just like you, Darling.”
Liz didn't listen to him. Her eyes were scanning the hall, searching for her Samurai warrior, but she couldn't find her. ‘Just where could she have gone? Damn it, Alex, why did you have to disturb us?'
“Oh Babe, I can hardly wait until we are married,” he groaned hotly into her ear and began to roll his pelvis to the rhythm of the music.
Liz felt something stir there and she glared at him. “Would you please stop that?” she asked, annoyed.
“I can't help it,” he grinned wolfishly. “It always happens when I hold you in my arms.”
Liz rolled her eyes and prayed that the dance would soon be over.
Samantha was still standing at the sink in the ladies room. “What could she have been talking about? This evening everything will change for us? How? And she wanted to talk with Alexander about the future... Could it be that... “ Her eyes widened fearfully as she thought of something. “Oh my God... is she intending to marry him?” She felt her heart clench painfully. “No, that must not happen. He doesn't deserve her! He will destroy her pure soul if she stays with him. I don't even want to think about it. I'll have to wait until she told me what she wanted to say.”
Samantha left the ladies room and scanned her surroundings for the blonde. She froze as her eyes found her on the dance floor. Tears welled up as she saw Alexander and Elizabeth deeply engrossed in a hot, passionate kiss.
“I've lost her,” she whimpered quietly to herself. “I've lost my Angel.” Sam turned away from the dance floor, her eyes darting helplessly around. “I have got to get out of here.”
Again, Taylor had no idea where she was, especially after her flight from Catherine's rage. “I just don't get it! Liz is the only person in the hall that runs around with two big fat white wings! How is it possible to oversee her?” she grumbled. Then she saw Sam coming towards her. “Finally, at least I found one of you.”
“Taylor, can we go home, please?”
The girl blinked in astonishment. “Why? We have not been here that long, Sammy.”
Samantha looked at her with pleading eyes. “Please Taylor, please. I want to go home.”
The teenager frowned. “What happened?”
The brunette was getting desperate. She didn't want to explain anything. She just wanted to get out of the hall. Holding in her tears, she begged once more, “Taylor please! I just want to go home.”
Taylor raised her hands in a calming motion. Whatever had happened must have really upset the other woman. “Okay. Let me find Liz so that I can tell her.” She turned around to go, but Sam grabbed her arm and held her back.
“Taylor, I can't stand to be in here for another second, please.”
Fortunately, Karen chose that moment to walk by. “Hey sweeties. Are you having fun?”
Samantha only shook her head and a lone tear rolled down her cheek.
“Good that you are here, Karen,” Taylor said. “Listen, if you see Liz, please tell her that Sam and I have gone home.”
Before Karen could inquire more information, Samantha had dragged Taylor with her. “That's strange,” Karen mumbled under her breath. “Earlier Sam was having so much fun.” She went back to Christopher.
“Hey, did I see that correctly that Sam and my little sister have left the party?”
Karen nodded. “Taylor is bringing Sam home. Obviously, she is not feeling too well. To tell you the truth, she looked as if her whole world had fallen apart. As if she just lost something very dear to her.”
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